I am writing this column at the end my first four-year term as Director of the Center for Women’s & Gender Studies. I will be going on an academic leave until August 2014, during which time English Professor Lisa Moore will be the Interim Director. I am delighted that Lisa agreed to serve while I am away—there are very few faculty who match Lisa’s dedication and intellectual commitment to the Center and its vision.
As we near the end of one academic year and the beginning of another, I realize again how much support the Center has received from faculty across the University, from Liberal Arts Dean Randy Diehl, and from President Bill Powers. Critical to the success of the Center as both an academic and community organization, however, has been the work of the staff, whose passion for our mission sustains all that we do.
As evidence of that passion, witness the success of our New Leadership™ Texas summer institute—now in its second year—which once again drew women university students from across Texas to participate in a non-partisan conference on women’s political leadership, May 30-June 4. Given the recent events in the Texas Legislature, there could not have been a more timely reminder that the more women in public office, the more likely we are to conduct a civil conversation about women’s reproductive health.
Preparing the University’s undergraduate women for success in their chosen fields through exposure to critical thinking and leadership skills is a major focus of our INSPIRE leadership program—and the importance of that work was recognized in the $25,000 endowment established by Dr. Mary Braunagel-Brown. The Center is now only $9,000 from raising the $25,000 in matching funds that she has so generously added to her endowment. Please help us reach our goal by making a gift online today.
Finally, please visit us in our new campus home: Burdine Hall, 536. We have more office space and a large reception area, as well as delightful new neighbors: the Department of Religious Studies, the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and the Center for Mexican American Studies. Despite our peripatetic physical nature, rest assured that our intellectual and activist commitment is firmly grounded!
All best wishes for a great year—and see you in August 2014!
Susan Sage Heinzelman
From Left: Associate Director Mollie Marchione, Brandon Robinson, Victoria Dominguez, Rebecca Besaw, Rebecca Rossen, Director Sue Heinzelman, Zazil Garcia at the CWGS Awards Reception on May 6.
From left: Director Sue Heinzelman, Juan Portillo (an INSPIRE Facilitator) and Mary Braunagel-Brown.
2013 Award Recipients:
Contributor of the Year
Read article about Dr. Braunagel-Brown
Cynthia Walker Peña Scholarship in Women’s & Gender Studies
Rebecca Besaw, BA Student, Philosophy/Prelaw/WGS
The Lora Romero Memorial Award for Interdisciplinary Research in Race, Ethnicity and Gender
Brandon Robinson, PhD Student, Sociology
"The Beauty of Online Dating": Quotidian Practices of Sexual Racism on a Gay Dating Site
Ellen Clarke Temple Award in the Study of Women in History
Chyna Bowen, PhD Student, History
From Slave to Convict: Criminalized Women of the Antebellum South
Women's & Gender Studies Dissertation Fellowship
Zazil Elena Reyes Garcia, PhD Student, Communication Studies
Women politicians in political cartoons: A comparative analysis between Mexico and the United States
Women's & Gender Studies MA Thesis Award
Victoria Dominguez, WGS
Between the Borderlands of Life and Death: A Spiritual and Intellectual Journey Towards Developing Conocimiento
Lucia, John, and Melissa Gilbert Teaching Excellence Award in Women’s & Gender Studies
Dr. Rebecca Rossen, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre & Dance, College of Fine Arts
The Queer Affect, Queer Archives Symposium, co-sponsored by CWGS and held May 9, represented work by students in this spring seminar taught by Professor Ann Cvetkovich (English and Women’s & Gender Studies). The following WGS graduate students presented: Alana Victoria Varner: “Mestiza Consciousness and the Cotera Archive”; Austin Rodenbiker: “Fan, Amateur, and Archive in The Shoebox Project; Michael Pascual: “A Queer History of Violence: Queer Violence and Outlaw Pleasure in Tom Kalin’s Swoon (1992).”
CWGS held a graduation celebration May 16 for Class of 2013 MA students and their faculty thesis/report supervisors; second readers. The Thesis/Report Colloquium was rich in the variety of topics and academic disciplines represented, as follows:
Nicole Arteaga, Reclaiming Fat, Reclaiming Femme. Report Supervisor: Dr. Peter Rehberg, Germanic Studies; Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, English and WGS
Victoria Dominguez, Between the Borderlands of Life and Death: A Spiritual and Intellectual Journey Toward Developing Conocimiento. Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez, Sociology, Mexican American Studies, Latin American Studies, WGS; Dr. Mary Kearney, Radio-Television-Film
Namita Kohli, Going into Labor: (Un)making Mothers in India’s Transnational Surrogacy Markets. Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Sharmila Rudrappa, Sociology, Asian American Studies, WGS; Dr. Kamala Visweswaran, Anthropology and Asian Studies
Ekaterina Kolesova, Defending Pussy Riot Metonymically: The Trial Representations, Media and Social Movements in Russia and the United States. Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Dana Cloud, Communication Studies; Dr. Mary Kearney, Radio-Television-Film
Michael Pascual, Exceptional Feelings, Ordinary Violence. Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Ann Cvetkovich, English, WGS; Dr. Katie Arens, Germanic Studies, European Studies, Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, WGS
Rae Rozman, The Evolved Radical Feminism of Spoken Word: Alix Olson, C.C. Carter, and Suheir Hammad. Report Supervisor: Dr. Lisa Moore, English and WGS; Dr. Dana Cloud, Communication Studies
Ece Saltan, Transness: An Urban Phenomenon in Istanbul. Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Sonia Seeman, Music, Middle Eastern Studies; Dr. Sofian Merabet, Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies.
CWGS and the UT Libraries’ Human Rights Documentation Initiative co-sponsored a spring panel and luncheon event to launch the “Rethinking Power & Resistance: Gender and Human Rights from Texas to the Transnational Americas” Conference Footage collection.
Videos from the fall 2012 “Rethinking Power & Resistance” Conference, a project of the Embrey Critical Human Rights Initiative at CWGS, can be accessed online here.
CWGS staff member Jackie Salcedo, (center) with WGS MA graduate Rae Rozman (l), and Katya Kolesova at the Spring Commencement, May 18.
Congratulations to Alma Jacqueline Salcedo, Graduate Coordinator and Undergraduate Academic Adviser for the Center for Women's & Gender Studies, who earned her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration this spring.
Jackie began working full-time with the Center in 2005 and has helped foster the growth of the Center's programming and reputation. She started graduate work in 2007 and during the course of her study, Jackie's research interests included social justice and student identity development.
"Participation in the Higher Education Administration program was a transformative experience! I am so grateful to CWGS for its support of my education and professional development! I hope to use my new knowledge to better serve our students and community," Jackie said.
Alice Walker at ALA, June 2013 (ALA Flickr)
From Kristen Hogan, Women’s & Gender Studies Librarian
At the American Library Association Conference in Chicago this June, Alice Walker took the stage at the closing author event. The oversized conference auditorium seemed full of expectation and excitement, even on the last day of a long conference. The author described herself as a feminist and, in speaking about her two new books, she foretold the coming of a new order of womanist leadership. Pulling a thread from a couple of her earliest writings, she offered an interpretation of recent whistleblowers’ accounts. From her revolutionary novel Meridian (Harcourt, 1976), she invoked a scene of resistance within history. When a young man insists that the Civil Rights Movement has surely brought an end to segregation, “an old man who was bent carefully and still as a bird over his wide broom” acknowledges the violent racist histories still present: “I seen rights come and I seen ’em go.” For Walker this character reminds us that “rights” have not been constant or repaired injustice, and she insists that we need an entirely new system. She sees a kind of womanist new system in the voices of whistleblowers speaking out in the face of severe punishment. Of the definitions of womanist from her iconic essay collection In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose (Harcourt, 1983), she read: “Traditionally capable, as in: ‘Mama, I’m walking to Canada and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me.’ Reply: ‘It wouldn’t be the first time.’” This speaking out in alliance with each other, she imagines, is another beginning.
As the ALA begins a new round of advocacy for privacy rights in the face of recent leaks about social media and email information, ALA President Barbara Stripling reminds us of ALA advocacy against the PATRIOT Act: “Librarians were so vocal in their opposition to the law that Section 215 was called the ‘library provision.’ […] The government continues to use the ‘library provision’ to vacuum up private communication records of Americans on a massive scale.” A session on Race in Libraries with Todd Honma of The Claremont Colleges was one of several addressing structural racism within librarianship and our need to foster racial justice in order to transform our profession. As a featured speaker, Loriene Roy (Professor at the UT School of Information) urged us to “say yes to belonging” and to projects that build love and forgiveness. This work makes the new beginning Alice Walker imagines even more powerful.
Earlier that weekend I met with the Women’s and Gender Studies Section, where I’m starting my term as a member of the Collections Committee. Over the next year we’ll be thoroughly updating the WGS Section’s list of core WGS journals as a tool for advocating for coverage of the field at our libraries, and, thus, for support of these journals and voices. I presented a poster session framing this kind of advocacy: “A Legacy of Feminist Bookwomen: Proposal for a Librarian Working Group to Support Feminist Publishing.” As WGS programs grow, librarians are working with faculty to gather funding from various sources to build collections with a new purpose. This year you will receive a survey from me asking for your input on the core journal list as we develop this advocacy tool together.
Chicago feminist bookstore Women & Children First brought piles of Alice Walker’s two new books to the conference:
The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way, Essays (The New Press, 2013)
The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness into Flowers, New Poems (The New Press, 2013)
Kristen Hogan, Ph.D., MSIS, is English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies Librarian, University of Texas Libraries. She can be reached at 512.495.4414 or firstname.lastname@example.org